May 31, 2010


Metro Vancouver is proposing implementing emission standards for diesel powered vehicles with more than 25 horsepower.

FEATURE | Heavy Equipment

Metro Vancouver proposes heavy equipment emission standards

Metro Vancouver is proposing an air-quality emissions standard by 2012 for non-road, diesel-powered heavy equipment.

The move would financially penalize those with equipment more than 10 years old.

The phase-in standards would first hit owners, whose machines don’t have emission controls (Tier O) in 2012, then ramp up to target those owning first generation emission controls (Tier 1) by 2014.

Metro Vancouver estimates that half of the region’s 30,000 pieces of equipment now fall into Tier 0 or Tier 1 categories and these will have to be registered with Metro Vancouver, labeled as non-conforming machines, and operating fees will be imposed.

The proposed bylaw would impact all diesel construction equipment, industrial equipment, goods handling equipment, cranes and stationary diesel engines.

“They would pay a fee to run the machine,” said Metro Vancouver’s Derek Jennejohn. “And that fee would increase every year.”

Jennejohn, of Metro Vancouver’s Air Quality Department, said the draft proposal should land before the Metro board by year-end.

Removing or limiting polluting machines will not only improve air quality but also reduce health risks to operators, Jennejohn said.

A 2009 Metro Vancouver report backs up the claim.

“A consultant’s assessment indicated that current concentrations of diesel particulate matter are responsible for 67 per cent of the lifetime cancer risk from air pollution,” it said.

A 2005 Metro Vancouver report found that 41 per cent of diesel emissions came from non-road engines, which were only exceeded by marine engines at 43 per cent.

Violations would fall under the Environmental Management Act, which has the authority to impose bylaw notices with a $500 penalty, while fines can ramp up to $1 million and up to six months in jail.

Metro Vancouver can issue tickets and fines on a daily basis. Under the new proposal, Tier O equipment owners would pay a $4 per horsepower annual fee starting in 2012.

Machines that are used less than 100 hours (known as low-use machines) or those used on a monthly basis pay $1 per horsepower per month.

So, a Tier 0 machine with 300 horsepower engine would see the owner paying $1,200 in 2012 in Metro Vancouver or $300 for less than 100 hours use or $300 per month on a monthly basis.

While the fees may sound steep, they pale in comparison to what is proposed five years from now for Tier O machines.

In 2017, that same machine will cost $20 per horsepower or $6,000 to run annually and $1,500 in the other two categories.

Tier 1 vehicles must also be registered, but fees don’t kick in until 2014 when the cost is $4 per horsepower and $1 per horsepower in the other two categories.

By 2017, a Tier 1 piece of equipment will cost $10 per horsepower to operate while the other two categories cost $2.50 per horsepower.

Machines with less than 25 horsepower are excluded in both categories.

Manufacturers of engines started placing emission controls into heavy equipment (Tier 1) in 1996.

Tier 2 equipment, meeting higher standards, started in 2001, effectively putting the cut-off date at l0 years to escape the new Metro Vancouver tariff. The good news, though, is Metro Vancouver is giving the fees back.

“Those fees go into a emissions reduction fund,” said Jennejohn, adding that equipment operators will be helped financially to switch to newer cleaner engines or install emission controls on existing engines. “This is similar to what has been done in the U.S. and hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised for diesel emission reductions,” he said.

The other benefit is that operators or fleet owners with newer equipment will not only dodge the fees, but benefit from what could be a closed market in the Metro Vancouver area.

“If your machine is not registered, you will not be able to work in the area,” said Jennejohn, adding that bylaw inspectors visit sites and will be watching for offenders.

Jennejohn said he expects that complying equipment owners will report those who are not complying.

“If we have an enforcement officer on a jobsite and an operator (who is complying) knows of someone. who is on a job site down the road, and voices concerns their machines are not labeled, we will go check it out,” he said.

The bylaw proposal has been the result of a year’s collaboration and public meetings with industry including representatives of the Vancouver Regional Construction Association, VRCA companies, members from equipment dealers, and the B.C. Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association, Jennejohn said.

The initiative is one part of a program aimed at public and private sector operators. More information is at

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